2 Dallas doctors face federal fraud charges in $12 million insurance scheme

Two doctors who ran a pain management clinic in Dallas were arrested last week and accused of making millions of dollars through an insurance scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.

Deno Barroga and Desi Barroga, both 51, were arrested Thursday and appeared in court the next day, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release Monday.

Deno and Desi Barroga face one count each of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, five counts of medical fraud and one count of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, the release said.

Both pleaded not guilty to the charges, court records show.

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According to their indictment, the two doctors are accused of submitting “false and fraudulent claims” to their patients’ insurance companies related to corticosteroid injections. They are also accused of creating “false medical records” to show the procedure was performed, court documents said.

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“In many cases, however, the defendants did not actually administer the injections and instead placed a need on the patient’s body without actually puncturing the skin to simulate an injection and topically applying lidocaine,” the indictment said.

The two doctors are accused of defrauding health benefit plans, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna and United Healthcare, of $50 million and paying nearly $12 million, according to court records.

Desi Barroga’s medical license, granted in December 2006, is scheduled to expire in August 2024, according to the Texas Medical Board website. Deno Barroga’s medical license was issued in August 2005 and will expire in August 2025. Their primary practice address is listed as a location in the 7500 block of Greenville Avenue in northeast Dallas, according to the medical board’s website.

Each person has previously drawn the attention of the Texas Medical Board.

In June 2021, Desi Barroga entered a “non-disciplinary” rehabilitation program after the Texas Board of Medicaid found that he “failed to maintain an adequate medical record that demonstrated adequate patient history, examination details, and his medical rationale for prescribing controlled substances, including fentanyl patches, per patient,” the website showed.

“Dr. [Desi] Barroga does not admit or deny the findings, but has agreed to a remedial plan to avoid the expense and uncertainty of litigation,” according to a description posted on the medical board’s website. He eventually completed the required program.

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In March 2016, Deno Barroga was ordered to pay a $3,000 administrative penalty after the state medical board found he “nontherapeutically prescribed controlled substances and other medications to numerous patients,” according to the board’s website.

The board also required that his practice be monitored by another physician for “12 consecutive monitoring cycles” and complete a physician prescribing course in addition to maintaining medical records and 12 hours of continuing medical education in pharmacology, the website showed.

A few years later, in March 2020, he agreed to take a record-breaking course after the board found that records for two patients were insufficient. Deno Barroga met “all requirements” in both cases, according to the medical board’s website.

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